Three British men jailed for possessing drugs in Dubai have been pardoned and released as part of the President of the United Arab Emirates’ gesture of festive goodwill during the holy month of Ramadan.
Grant Cameron, 25, arrived home late on Wednesday night after more than a year abroad in prison, during which time he claims he and his friends were tortured by police investigators. Karl Williams, 26, and Suneer Jeerh, 25, are believed to still be in Dubai and awaiting deportation.
The actions of Dubai officials in the case have been campaigned against by human rights legal charity Reprieve, which says that for seven months the men were beaten, tortured with electricity and cattle prods, and made to sign documents in Arabic that they didn’t understand.
They were then found guilty of possessing a quantity of synthetic cannabis known as “spice”, and sentenced to four years in jail, the minimum term for such an offence, in a country where having residual quantities of an illegal drug in the bloodstream is considered possession.
With her son released under the terms of the Ramadan amnesty just three months into his sentence, Grant’s mother Tracy Cameron said: “After a year of waiting, we are deeply relieved and overjoyed to have Grant back home with us after his terrible ordeal. We hope that his friends Karl and Suneet will soon also be safely back in Britain.
“Obviously what Grant has been through has been very distressing for him, and the family as a whole. We'd ask that people give him the time, space and privacy he needs to settle back in.
”In the meantime, we'd like to thank everyone who has helped support Grant and his friends throughout their ordeal.“
It is understood that the allegations of torture were raised by Prime Minister David Cameron when UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan came to Britain on a state visit in April.
Reprieve investigator Kate Higham said: ”After everything Grant has been through, his release is welcome but long overdue. No one should have to go through what he experienced, and we are glad that he is safely back home. We hope the same will soon be true of his friends Karl and Suneet.“
Reports earlier this month from Emirates news agency WAM indicated that the Sheikh was pardoning a total of 1,598 prisoners across Dubai and Abu Dhabi this year to marking the holy month. The terms of the act of clemency usually include settling all the debts and financial obligations of the people freed.